to think of all the times 

we got each other into trouble. 

I can still hear you taking the belt 

for using the good china as flying discs, 

though that was my idea, born of boredom. 


I can still hear you saying it wasn’t you, 

until Dad’s enraged eyes turned to me, 

and I can still feel the fear flashing through me, 

and I can still hear you saying it wasn’t me, 

until Dad’s eyes went from rage to bewilderment, 


and he said both of us need to shape up, 

and put his belt back on. I remember stealing 

your bike and wrecking it, and I remember 

borrowing your headphones so I could hear music 

while you had no way not to listen to our parents 


fighting it out, Mom throwing Dad out, and I remember 

how you took up smoking, and how I prayed for you, 

how you took up drinking, and how I worried about you, 

how you got cut from the team, though I pleaded with the coach, 

how you took to cutting yourself, how you stopped 


eating right, stopped sleeping in the bed right  

next to mine, and I ask you now to forgive me 

for everything, just as I forgive you now for the time 

we were just single cells, swimming with all our might, 

how I saw the egg and said let’s go, and though you said no,  


though you said no, I forgive you bro,  

though I think you had the gene for playing guitar  

and the gene for talking smooth to girls, 

I understand now that you weren’t ready for this world 

that I had to wander as an only son.